Meetings are inevitable but posts deriding the classic meeting as worthless, inefficient, unimportant and boring abound on the internet, and yet all but the very best-run organizations continue to depend on them to keep the business machine running.
No matter how you spin it, and no matter how often you change the format, meetings remain deeply – and perhaps permanently – ingrained in most of our office cultures. At startups, where time often comes at a premium, this can be especially frustrating.
1. Short but Frequent Meetings
The average adult’s attention span is only a few minutes long these days anyway. You might as well capitalize on that time, otherwise you’ll just end up spinning your wheels. There is no shame in scheduling 15 minutes into Outlook- just remember to stick to it. Quick 15-minute meetings twice or three times a week can be more productive than one 60 minute weekly meeting, especially if you are testing campaigns.
2. Only Schedule a Meeting When You Have To and Always Have an Agenda
If an hour-long meeting can be staved off with a 10-minute phone call, I would go with the phone call every time. Developing an agenda for every meeting helps you organize your thoughts and decide what and who needs to be invited. One of the reasons for boring meetings is inviting attendees who don’t need to be present.
3. Make it a Dialogue, Not a Monologue
How many times have you walked into a room where the only agenda item was to go around the room have everyone share what they’re working on? Reports can be given via e-mail; save the face-to-face time for the really critical issues that require more than one mind to handle.
4. Leave Your Devices at Your Desk
Devices can and are a huge distraction at meetings. You may not be able to alway leave your device at the desk but be sure to have it on silent mode and close out your email.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Conflict
This might be hard to take for the conflict adverse but if the point of the meeting is to address critical business issues, not doing just that renders the meeting pointless. People get bored and the cycle begins anew. Addressing issues, resoving conflict, not expediency, is what ultimately leads to progress.
6. Try Standing Up
Yes, there are health benefits (allegedly) to standing up more at work, but standing could also help with concentration, engagement and collaboration.
7. Recap Notes
Sending out meetting recap notes that outline assignments and deadlines serve as a way to keep attendees moving forward on the project.
What do you do to make your meetings more engaging and productive?
Photo Credit: John Porcaro via Flickr